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The Other Twin by LV Hay – a review

I was given a copy of this via Lovereading and actually read it a few months ago. 

The Other Twin starts with Poppy finding out her sister India has fallen to her death. Poppy then returns to Brighton for the first time in years in order to try and prove that her sister didn’t committee suicide. Whilst back in Brighton she meets up with her old boyfriend Matt, and his wealthy family who own half of the city. She also uncovers the mysterious Jenny who it seems had an online friendship with India. Yet what are they hiding?

The Other Twin was an interesting novel that kept me gripped through to the end. I liked the way the story was told, and the quality of writing meant that it was an easy fast read. I was certainly kept guessing right until the end. My only slight criticism, is that I did find the story a bit difficult to place in a time. It was clearly modern day as there were blogs and phones in use. Yet the characters seemed quite old fashioned to me, (there was a lot of legging wearing which is very 1980) and without wishing to give anything away this old-fashioned quality became even more obvious towards the end. The characters whilst interesting were hard to warm to, but this gives the story a certain edge of the seat quality.

The Other Twin was a nice summer read that I would recommend, despite my misgivings over their clothing choices.

 

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Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell – a review BLOG TOUR

I am delighted to today be taking part in the blog tour for the latest novel by Caimh McDonnell . This one is a prequel to the fantastic Dublin trilogy series.

Angels in Moonlight introduces us to Bunny McGarry. As we know from the previous novels Bunny has some rather unorthodox policing methods, and although he may be younger in this story he certainly hasn’t changed.  Whilst his methods might not strictly toe the policing line they do get results, and it is those results his bosses want to see when he is tasked with bringing down one of Dublin’s most notorious gangs. What is different in this prequel is that we get to see another side of Bunny, he has a softer side that isn’t always evident in his previous cases. We find out how he met Simone who he has mentioned in the other novels.  Although obviously the course of true love never runs smoothly, and this is no exception in Bunny’s case. On top of work and love life Bunny is worried about his straight laced partner Gringo. Gringo’s marriage is on the rocks but it is clear he is hiding something more worrying.

I am a big fan of humour in my crime fiction and this most definitely has that in spades. Caimh McDonnell manages to mix a police procedural with funny escapades incredibly skilfully. This novel felt like a bit of slower read than the previous ones, but that is rather deliberate I imagine as it gives you more of an insight into the detectives head. The writing is funny, but there is an element of sadness within this novel which for me really made this stand out.

The characters are all well written, and although there are a lot of them they are easy to keep track off. Obviously I don’t want to give away any spoilers but you should definitely look out for the nuns! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend any of this series. I‘m very much looking forward to the final in the trilogy.

Angels in the Moonlight is out now

 

 

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The Monster’s Daughter by Michelle Pretorius

I was sent a copy of this by the publishers Melville House, and I agreed to review it having already said that historical fiction isn’t really my thing. This however sounded interesting as it was described as a historical thriller set in South Africa which is a country that has always intrigued me.

The Monster’s Daughter is the debut novel by Michelle Pretorius. The novel is a story in three parts. It’s a thriller, a historical novel and also a bit science fiction. It starts in 2010 when we are introduced to Alet, a disgraced police constable who has been reassigned to the small town of Unie. Here she discovers the body of a woman burned beyond all recognition. Her investigations soon lead her to believe there is a serial killer stalking women.  Alongside this murder mystery we are treated to a potted history of the country’s violent past, starting in 1901 at the height of the Boer war. Linking these two elements are Tessa and Benjamin who were in a British concentration camp where a doctor was conducting some grim experiments.  

This was not an easy read. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and the jumping around of the timelines meant that it was sometimes hard to keep up with the story. However considering it included both science fiction and historical elements, two things I’m not a huge fan of in my crime novels, this was completely worth the effort.

This was a superb novel. The writing was incredibly evocative and upsetting at times. I had a very basic knowledge of South African history and found this part of the novel absolutely fascinating. The violence and hatred jumped out of the page as we travelled from the Boer War, through Apartheid to the present day. The landscape and the heat, alongside the tensions of the time were evident, all the while with the back drop of a modern day murder investigation.

The characters themselves, whilst perfectly well rounded, for me did come secondary to the historical elements. The story was interesting and I think just the modern day part on its own would have been a decent story, yet the rest of elements were really what made this an absolute stand out book.

Sometimes it is good to read something out of your usual type and The Monster’s Daughter was definitely one of those times.

 

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He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly – a review

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this via netgalley.

He Said, She Said focuses on Laura and her husband Kit. They are eclipse chasers, so basically they go round the world watching total eclipses. On one of these trips when they first meet, Laura sees what she presumes is a rape. Her and Kit are then called as witnesses, to testify against Jamie the perpetrator. He says that the sex was consensual, but Beth the victim states that it was rape. It’s his word against hers.  15 years later and Kit and Laura are in hiding. They are no longer friends with Beth, having changed their names and now live practically ‘off the grid’. However it’s clear that when Beth tracks them down, things are not going to end well.

I really enjoyed this book. It is told mainly from the viewpoint of Laura and switches between past and present easily. There were lots of descriptions of eclipses and weather but I found that interesting and felt it added to the stories atmosphere. This was not a fast paced novel but was more of a gentle story that unfolded whilst keeping the tension high. There were lots of twists and turns that kept my interest, and you were never quite sure who was telling the truth.

I did find both Kit and Laura a little annoying, clearly they were going to have secrets, all good characters in novels do. Yet you would think that for people in hiding they would be more inclined to be open with each other. However the story itself is good so I could overlook this and the ending was truly a surprise.

Erin Kelly is an author who manages to take a relatively mundane setting and turn it into something different. This isn’t a book that will necessary grab you by the throat straight away but it is one that after I finished kept me thinking. I have read a number of Erin Kelly’s books and would highly recommend them all.

 

 

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Here and Gone by Haylen Beck – a review

I was given a copy of this via netgalley, and have to admit it did kind of fall off my reading radar until very recently.

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck starts with Audra and her two children driving across Arizona, in an attempt to flee her abusive husband. When she gets stopped by the police she is clearly nervous about being caught. However she soon realises that she is in more trouble than she could possibly have dreamt of.

This was an interesting novel that certainly kept my attention. However I must admit I didn’t think it was the most original storyline. Without wishing to give away too much information the story itself was relatively predictable, the motives behind the crime will probably be obvious to most avid crime fiction fans early on. However despite that, this book was an absolute page turner.

Books are often described as ‘roller coasters’ and without wishing to sound clichéd this is a perfect description for this novel. As soon as the police stop Audra you know that bad things are going to happen, and when they do the reactions of the characters will have you on the ‘edge of your seat’.

Cliches aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The writing is superb and I really liked the way that this was a story that relied on good writing to push it along, not just throwing in twists and turns at every moment. The descriptions of the characters and the emotions they are going through are gripping. The overall premise is about a woman and her fierce desire to protect her children, no matter the danger to herself. The sheer determination of Audra will keep you turning the pages.

To me this felt different from a lot of novels written about women protecting their children. Audra was a person who teamed up with a man. Yet she didn’t expect him to rescue her or her children, she was going to do that herself.  There is violence and some disturbing details in this story, but it is all relevant to setting the atmosphere.

Haylen Beck is the pen name of Stuart Neville, yet it is only the name that has changed not the superb writing. This was a great, if disturbing read that I’m glad came back onto my radar.

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Spring Reads Guest Post – Matthew Redford

Now regular readers of my blog will be familiar with the hilarious world of Food Sapiens and our main carrot DI Wortel. Remember the case of the dead mince spy? For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about you can find out more here (Addicted to death by Matthew Redford – a reviewWho killed the Mince Spy BLOG TOUR – Guest post

Well as part of the Spring Reads 2017 I am delighted to welcome back Matthew Redford, author of Addicted to Death, which tops the list of funniest crime novel ever in my opinion. I was keen to find out more about the food sapiens. So I’ll hand you over to Matthew.

Thank you so much for letting me write a short piece for the readers of your blog. I have been asked to write on the subject of how I came up with my characters which I think is a really interesting question, because after all, how many Food Sapiens detectives do you really know about?

I’m sensing that I may have lost you there. Food Sapiens. Walking, talking, breathing food items who are integrated and part of our society. Still not with me? Check out the Genetically Modified Food Sapiens Act 1955 and you’ll find out that Food Sapiens were finally released from captivity after initially being held by Government scientists who discovered that genetically modified food items developed their own conscious. But once the Government realised they had above average intelligence and could set up business and of course, pay taxes, then their release was inevitable.

And over the years Food Sapiens have integrated fully into everyday life, so much so that they have blended in without anyone realising. And this is why I think it’s so interesting that I am often asked by people how I came up with my characters. The honest answer is that I didn’t create them, they actually exist, and I am writing about real life events. Now for anybody that has read ‘Addicted to Death’, or ‘Who Killed the Mince Spy?’ you might that hard to believe, but I guarantee that I speak the truth. In Addicted to Death, poor Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs very much in love, were brutally murdered by a hitman with a large metal spoon, (stop sniggAddicted to Deathering at the back, it’s no yolk), while a Christmas drama unfolded in Who Killed the Mince Spy? as an MI GasMark5 secret agent was deliberately over baked and charred. That was such a difficult case for the Food Related Crime Team as the death of the mince spy, while horrific, smelt so good.

So let me take a few moments to introduce you to some of the lead Food Sapiens characters:

Detective Inspector Willie Wortel – the Head of the Food Related Crime Team and the leading Food Sapiens detective of his generation, DI Willie Wortel, carrot, leads the fight against food crime. Renowned for his sharp mind, his bravery and courage, Wortel has tackled the psychopath Sammy the Shrimp, foiled the evil MadCow McBeef and managed to find work suits that somehow complement his tall, spiky green hair.

Oranges and Lemons – two fruit officers who work with DI Wortel. I would have said they support, help and assist Wortel but that would be a lie. Probably better to use words like torment, hinder, annoy…but, and this is just my opinion, I think he quite likes having them around really. One word of warning however. If you do bump into them and start chatting, please don’t ask them who borrowed five farthings because you might never get away.

MadCow McBeef – evil genius and nemesis of Wortel. Currently incarcerated at the Farmer Giles Mental Institution, but under close surveillance at all times. Avoid at all costs. Enough said.

USA President Rump Steak – a surprise election winner who some might say should be incarcerated alongside MadCow McBeef, but who nonetheless, is under close surveillance at all times. Avoid at all costs. Enough said.

Curly Kale Minogue – one of my favourite singers also happens to be a Food Sapiens icon. With her breakthrough song ‘I should be so leeky’ and the disco classic ‘Can’t get you out of my bread’ she is often top of the charts battling it out with Ham Smith and CornFed Sheeren.

Russell Toastie – now I need to be completely professional here when describing this actor. I need to make sure that I let you know I respect his acting ability and what I am about to say has nothing to do with his good looks and physique…hubba hubba hubba…

So that is a small insight into the world of Food Sapiens, who are not made up characters, but real life people who go about their daily business just like you and me. There are good Food sapiens and those who sometimes take a criminal turn. But we can rest assured for while we have Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, we can sleep safely tonight.

Thank you very much Matthew, I am very much looking forward to reading more about Food sapiens and finding out what DI Willie Wortel is up to.

 

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Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas – a review

I was given a copy of this via netgalley.

Local Girl Missing begins with Frankie returning to her home town, after the discovery of human remains. It is assumed that the remains belong to her best friend Sophie who disappeared one night when they were both just teenagers. Sophie’s brother had called Frankie and asked her to return to the town to help try and work out what had happened to his Sister. Frankie is not happy about returning but feels she owes it to her friend. She soon starts to discover that everyone in the town seems to have secrets and Frankie is no longer sure who to trust.

This was quite a good easy read. The story is told from two different viewpoints. We hear from a present day Frankie who is having a conversation with an imaginary Sophie. This gives the reader an incredible feel of Frankie’s paranoia and sense of isolation. We also get the impression that she is hiding something regarding her family. The other viewpoint is that of Sophie. We get to hear from her in the form of her diary which she wrote in the lead up to her disappearance. Gradually the two viewpoints reveal the truth of what happened to Sophie, and to Frankie.

This was a good story that kept me interested. I did find the crime reveal a little predictable, however that didn’t actually detract from my enjoyment. The writing was good and I felt that the two main characters had very distinct voices. Some of Frankie’s story was a little repetitive which adds to the feel that she isn’t quite keeping herself together. Sophie’s voice is that of a young teenager, with all the angst and fluctuations that come in that time between child and grown up. This does give the slight impression of it being a teenage novel, as there are lots of talk about boys and parties but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I have to say I didn’t really care about Frankie, or any of the things that were happening to her. She was rather annoying and very self involved, which is of course exactly how she is meant to come across. I did however like the character of Sophie and you do care about what happened to her, although the final twist at the end of the book was a little unbelievable.

Overall I did enjoy this story. It probably wasn’t as dark as my preferred reads, but it is a good story that was a quick easy read.

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